Enter a World of Culture, Faith and Love

Together we will explore a world of culture, faith and love through interviews and stories. Here’s a guide to our journey:


Being an African American during this period of history is exciting, but I love looking back into the past and finding interesting details about a people of incredible beauty and strength. Although The Loom takes place during slavery, it is not a typical story of captivity. The lives of the enslaved were so much richer than what has been traditionally recorded in history, a fact I try to convey within the pages of my novel. Most of you know the ancestors of African Americans were slaves, but did you know there was a man by the name of Francis “Free Frank” McWorter, who made more than $15,000 in the early 1800s to free himself and 16 members of his family? Amazing. Whatever fascinating stories I discover, I will be sure to pass on to you.

But I also want to know about you. Share with me little known facts about your heritage, your culture and customs. Throughout the year, I’ll be interested in some of your holiday traditions whether they were passed down from your parents or newly formed ideas created by you and yours. I look forward to learning something new and maybe adapting a few that fit.


I love the Bible (and its Author) so many times I will be exploring my findings in this, my favorite historical book as it relates to today. Just as I explore faith in The Loom, I will spend some time here looking at this subject in depth, asking questions such as, “What does it really mean to have faith?” and a slew of others. Notice I said I’d be asking such questions. We’ll see if we discover the answers together.


And I love love. I do. It’s my “thing.” It’s the one subject I can spend hours discussing, reading or writing about. But I’m not a romance writer nor am I interested in just male, female interaction (although those are among my favorites.) Relationships as a whole intrigue me and I find myself writing stories that embrace all aspects of this power that can ultimately change lives. The love of God, of a mother, of a friend can move nations. And it has. This is what I want to discuss here and books of course. Lots of books, many on this very subject.


I also want to interview authors who write about love or culture or faith. And because I love the arts in various forms, we will explore the world of cinema, particularly movies adapted from novels. I would also love to engage some actors in our discussion.

Your Story

In all of this, I want your ideas, your thoughts and opinions on the topics we discuss. I want to know your story. I look forward to hearing from you. There wouldn’t be a journey without you.

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  • ACW

    I was very intrigued as well as excited while reading your sample chapter.  Can’t wait to read the entire novel!

  • Drenda

    Shella,  my Sister,
    yes indeed you do love, “Love”, and your spirit is the true epitome  of love. You were the first person in my life
    that taught me to see the beauty not only in life, but the beauty within me, once
    that happened, I was able to display that beauty on the outside and others
    noticed. Man I so looked forward to those summers in Arizona. Each year you
    helped me to realize just what my value was and how God created each of us for
    a very special reason and everyone’s reason was different. We were so young
    however it was you who taught me to, “be true to thine  ownself”.  Does not surprise me that you have birthed your
    first book (which by the way, I just pre-ordered), so excited with, and for you
    and can’t to see what’s   next… 
    Love ya ,Sis

  • nena

    hi there.  i just read your blog and love it!  i’m a friend of your mom’s and an aspiring writer.  you got me with your interest in the “WORD” and “LOVE”.  love is my thing too and i’m definitely a student of the WORD.  in  1Corin 12:31; right before the LOVE chapter 13, paul says:  “. . . and yet i show you a more excellent way.” it is the most excellent thing.  i’m looking forward to buying and reading your book.  GOD BLESS U.


  • Gwendolyn Potter

    Shella your debut novel, The Loom, should be on everyone’s winter reading list. You have written a powerful and compelling story of love, friendship and the survival of the human spirit. Lydia experienced unspeaker pain and loss, but through her perservance she found happiness as she “redefined” freedom.
    Great Job, God-Daughter
    Gwendolyn Potter

  • Aka4md

    My Soror, I am so proud of you.  I just finished reading your sample chapter and can’t wait to order books for the entire family.  This is truly a blessing and I just want to congratulate you on this successful milestone in your life.  Wishing you well and looking forward to seeing what’s next. 


  • Pastor Autry

    Shella, Shella, Shella. I’m so proud of you. I just finished reading the book and yes John is my favorite character. It almost funny and ironic that i am preaching about men on Sunday. I found myself wishing I were John and yet I know i fall so short. I’m a free man and yet john, a slave, was far more a man than me. Wow. I want to be John. I loved the story, especially the epilogue, which reminded me of SO many Chrisitans (we are indeed free, aren’t we? I just loved that). This is rich blessing and many people will be touched by the story. I know we will talk more soon Thank You.

    Pastor Autry

  • Beverly

    Shella, I finish reading the book on Wednesday night. I enjoyed every page I was intrigued by John as well. A slave with whom had no freedom yet he knew how to love, and understood the way God had designed marriage.  The gift he gave Lydia (stick, rock and leaves) brilliant. How I wish I was Lydia and had her strength.   

  • http://redlilycafe.blogspot.com Cafe Lily Book Reviews

    Hi Shella,

    I received a galley copy of The Loom and posted about it on my blog:


    I really enjoyed this story.  It kept me reading long past my bedtime and was so hard to put down.  I agree – this book should be on everyone’s reading list, especially those like me who devour historical fiction!

    Blessings -

    Cafe Lily Book Reviews

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=4714910 Felicia Bell

    This book is beautiful. I studied African-American History from the 1800s – 1950s while in college and The Loom has intrigued me. The spiritual aspects that you have sprinkled in this novel is so important to the journey of our ancestors. I can’t wait to read more from you. Also, Isiah’s strength and the relationship with Lydia was beautiful. Not only during slavery but also now many young girls don’t have the love of their father as they should. Just wonderful. Your story moves me. 

  • Jasmine

    This book was amazing, especially when everything started coming together in the end.  You are such a poetic genius! Blessings to you and your family.  God has given you a gift and I’m thankful you didn’t waste it.  I can’t wait to read another Shella Gillus creation!

  • Peaches

    Cousin Shella,

    I learned of your book from your Dad. I’m immediately ordered copies for myself and my sister as part of her Christmas gift.  I read it during my holiday vacation time.   You took me there!  I shared the thoughts, experiences and emotions of your characters.  (I cannot believe how much I cried!) While our paths have not crossed yet, your work helps me to feel connected to you.  You are a gifted writer and I bless God for your gift.  And, with great pride, I’m sharing The Loom with others, encouraging them to read it. 

    CONGRATULATIONS on your NAACP Image Award nomination.  I could not be more proud and look forward to meeting you when you are in the Chicago area.

    Cousin Peaches

  • Captian Random

    Well…I am about to get started tonight on your book

  • Nena

    Hi Shella, just finished reading your book.  Excellent! Loved it. I see a movie in the works.  All the twists and turns; but you took us right back to the finish.  Reminded me of a Toni Morrison book.  Looking forward to your next one or the movie!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Shella, I literally just finished reading The Loom, when I saw that I could speak to you about my thoughts I jumped at the chance. The Loom is very inspirational and I admit, which is hard to do for me, that I had to hold back tears when sweet ol’ Lou died. The grief of Isaiah and the love she left behind for that rotten Jackson that promised wealth. I felt compelled to write to you about how much I appreciate the time and devotion you spent writing The Loom. I have read over 100 books and at least 50 stories written by teenagers on fanfiction websites over the course of the past 6 months and I feel that The Loom stood out the most. I also have to admit that I am a sucker for romance and John’s love for Lydia is enchanting. Thank you, thank you and thank you for taking me through this journey.

  • Shirldoug_98

    Is there two different versions of this book? I have not read anything about Sadie or Jackson and Lydia getting married or anything about Sadie and her love. What gives?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1324369088 Margarita White

    I just finished reading The Loom!  I read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I could not put the book down.  I was just wondering have you written any other books?  Continue to keep up the excellent work that you are doing!

    May God richly bless you!

  • Scillagandy

    Enjoyed the book, great story intermixing fact and fiction, with interesting charachters throughout.

  • Lakehuronlady

     It was sad but happy, at times, too.
    Thankfully, you stopped Lydia from marrying Jackson, before it happened!!
    My heart goes out to people of any color that go through slavery, of any kind.
    This country has come along way but there still is the same mentality in the South…

  • Miss Tiara

    I just finished your amazing book! It was a wonderful read that I inhaled in three days! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. I hope this is the first of many more!

  • Miss Deb

    I just finished The Loom.  Took me a few days of reading, one box of tissues, several late nights and 5 AM mornings but what a great read.  I cried, I laughed, I held my breath, I wanted to scream.  And it reaffirms my stong beliefs and faith in our Heavenly Father.  Who else could sustain, provide and give hope?  I cannot wait to read your next book my dear.  May God bless you. 

  • Nikki Hinkle

    I just finished the Loom last night.  I read it also in three days. The last staying up late and then waking in the night to finish it up. I have to admit that When I read Abrams name I thought of Abraham in the bible right away and was thrilled at the end to realize that was your intention. I also thought immediately of Sarai and Abrams life as I read  and felt that Lydia was trapped once again  this time within herself through her own lies. My favorite part was the wedding but also after the saddest when Lydias father passes on. Thanks for the inspiring book. I plan on suggesting it to friends.

  • UsmilE73

    I finished the book in two days. You are talented and using your God given talents to point to the freedom we ALL need…its timeless and speaks to all people deeper than upbringing or race . well written….tand i will be recommending this read. Thank you!

  • Kristy Brown

    As soon as I saw your website at the end of The Loom, I knew I had to check it out to learn about the author.  My heart actually ached for many of the characters in your story.  As I was reading, the character, Lydia, reminded me of my own journey during my youth.  We chase after so many things that we believe will give us hope, freedom, accomplishment… when all along, our God was already there and had already given us these gifts if we would receive them.  I especially appreciated Annie’s attitude.  Although, to the world, she was a slave, she knew that she only served one master, Jesus Christ.  Her strength to serve with loyalty and respect was very inspiring, reminding me of the passage 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  It was truly a great story and I look forward to reading more from you!

  • Butterflydeath

    I read ur book in a day and a half..it was absolutely wonderful..I have read many many slave books,urs is by far 1 of the best I have ever read..I look so forward to reading more of ur books..u are a very talented writer..I’m glad u didn’t waste it..thanks for writting such a good book and I look forward to more.. with luv from TN :~}

  • Mtceecee

    Shella, I tried not to read The Loom too fast so that I could savor the characters and story for a few weeks as I fell asleep.  I was in thralled with your writing. So much so that I discussed your book with my boss during break and  have  recommended  this book to my daughter as well. I could so easily see this as a mini-series…you have developed  flavor and dimension in your book. Bravo! I look forward to many more books from you.

  • Mtceecee

    Your ability to weave together fact and historical fiction showcase your gift as a wordsmith. I read this book SLOWLY to savor the flavors of your deeply developed characters. I would love to see this as a mini-series or even better – live theater. I am imagining the concept of the “loom room” and how it would play out on the stage by professional actors…the staging…the lighting…Bravo! I look forward to reading more from you. Thank You.

  • Lynnely38

    I assume as an accomplished
    author, you receive many emails from your readers. I, too, would like to let
    you know I loved the story of Lydia and John. Reading these kinds of stories
    where people are often treated so inhumanely, I come away with feelings of
    dispair and sadness. What have we, as a human race, come to? Many times
    animals treat their own with more dignity, love, tenderness and

    Thank you for your personal
    note at the end of the book. I marvel at how you wove the story from your own
    experiences. I particularly marvel at how you can put your thoughts down on
    paper. I have so many “stories” conceived in my brain, but if and when I sit
    down to put them together…they vanish! I can write a whole story in a
    sleepless night, but then…..!

    Again, thank you for “The

    Sincerely a most satisfied


  • Phmarler4212

    Stella, I finished your amazing book last night.  I enjoyed all of the characters and your story of each.  thank you so much for a book that speaks truly to my heart.  I felt like I was on the plantation, in the loom room and in the lost and revived heart of Lydia.
    Blessings to you and your family. 
    Oh, and I am waiting for your next story.

  • Densign21

    The Loom is such a beautiful story about love, freedom and being careful for what you wish for.  I live in the town of Bristow, VA (neighbor to Manassas, VA) and enjoy reading all these Civil War era type stories.  

    I enjoyed reading the closeness of the characters that worked the loom and how the book focused mostly on their personal feelings about freedom and with each other.  The love story was so sweet, the way John let Lydia go (in a way) to truly discover the freedom she so desperately was searching for, knowing she had it all along with him.  That’s true love and this story was beautifully written.

    Your notes at the end of the story were wonderful and I loved reading the inspiration for this book.  I hope to read more of your books in the future!

    Bristow, VA

  • Maggieusmc

    You are a wonderful writer. I did not think of this book so much about race as I did about real life issues . I loved every minute of this book. I could not put it down. I hope you continue to write white the blessing God gave you. I am so sorry race issues ever had to happen. My grandfather was a judge in South Georgia and was almost beaten to death because he stood up for a black man. So sad, so sad. Some day we will all bow to the only master that really lives.

  • Juanitamcq

    I received, The Loom as a givft and found it to be intriguing and captivating.  You have written a story that has so many life lessons.  One part that really captured my attention is when Lizzy points out that like Lizzy she was a slave too, because she was a woman. It opened my eyes and caused me to ponder the thought that we all are living in some kind of bondage.  This was purely an amazing story that kept me awake late at night sitting in the bathroom as not to disturb the house.  I really enjoyed your summation of the story at the end and began to understand the dynamics of the characters.  Especially Abram.  When you described the holes in his hands, my first thought was a Saviour like Jesus.  Brilliant.  I am looking forward to your next works.

  • L. DeAngelis

    At first I thought this novel would be all about bashing the whites for owning slaves. But instead you wove the story around the turmoil of a world of injustices; for both women of any color and for men held in captivity. Thank you for showing the struggles of each – so clearly. The use of Jackson’s rotten tooth goes all the way to the root of bitterness and anger and it’s ultimate cost of ones life. In the words of the character, Oliver Twist, “more please.”
    I would love to know how Lydia and John continue in the world they live in. From some of my historical reading, life will be hard for them due to the shades of their skin tone alone. How will Emma survive the world as a woman alone, emotionally and physically. Will Dr. Kelly ever find out why he is driven to take from those who cannot fight back? Will he ever repent of his wonton ways? Will Lizzy’s marriage mirror her mothers or will her husband have the sense to respect others no matter their color.
    I am looking forward to more of your writings.

  • http://www.hagermans.blogspot.com Christie Hagerman

    What a wonderful book! I almost put it down several times because I couldn’t stand the injustices, the pain. But I’m so glad I finished it. Such a powerful allegory of our freedom. Thanks for writing from your heart. I posted a review on my blog at http://hammocklibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-loom-by-shella-gillus.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=732931640 Bekii V Kisamore

    Hello Shella! I finished The Loom yesterday, and i want to thank you for writing this story! It was impossible to put down. There were some very beautiful people in the story – as well as wretched – and i was really blessed by it. While Annie was not my “favorite” character, i was intrigued by her and particularly loved one of her last conversations with Lydia about Jackson, that he was “no worse than the rest of us. … Depends on how you’re looking. You looking from the inside out or the outside in? Either way, if you look hard enough, you’ll see yourself after a while. … We’re all slaves to something.”
    I loved the beauty of the relationship between Abram, Odessa, and Ruth.
    Thank you so much, and may the grace, truth and love of Christ Jesus be with you!

  • Leila Kaszubinski

    I really enjoyed your debut novel. I feel that the themes and imagery used throughout the book were quite powerful and beautiful, too. I most identified with the duality of being black on the inside while perceived as white from the outside. I am mixed… My father is black and my mother white. Out of all my siblings my skin color is by far the lightest ( some say I am even whiter than my mother! ). I struggled with the complexity of racial and cultural identity most of my youth. It has been through the natural maturity which comes with the passage of time that eventually brought me a balance and true self acceptance. Literature has also been part of my journey with The Bluest Eye and Kindred playing an important role for me personally. Today I add The Loom to this list as well. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/christeelove1 Chrissy Lynn

    Shella, I really enjoyed your book, The Loom. It’s awesome! I was confused about the ending and wished that you had given us more about how Lydia and John moved on. I also see a movie in the works and hope that you find the financial backing to get it done. John is the type of man that I would hope to meet before I leave this earth! Thank you for introducing us to your special talent and look forward to your next novel or the sequel to The Loom!

  • Sheila

    Hi Shella,

    I just finished reading your wonderful novel! I found it hard to put down as I felt myself being transported back in time. There were times when I could actually feel my heart racing as if I were right there. This happened during the scene where Isaiah was being murdered and Lydia pleaded for help from Emma Kelly as she watched from her window. There were times when I was afraid to read further, in fear of the outcome. You are a very gifted and talented writer and I look forward to more….perhaps a sequel and/or movie?

    Love & Blessings,

    Sheila Singletary
    (your cousin

  • James Fant

    Hi Shella,
    I’m reading the novel now. My goodness, the words just jump off the page at me. I’m loving it!

  • Mary Nordheim

    Enjoyed this book so much, hope you will continue to write so I can read more.

  • Kathy Isaac Hamm

    What a delightful find this book was. Having been raised in a small farming community in Western Canada where even knowing a person of color is a rare novelty, I was nonetheless drawn into a keen interest in African American history through the fascination of my daughter with African American culture. This is by far one of the best books of fiction I have read relating to the history of the African American slave.
    When the Loom Room is first described, I instantly thought of nursing homes for the elderly where so many of my dear relatives and friends have ended up. With the many advances of modern medicine, lives are being extended long past retirement age and rather than living out their last years at home as was once the case, many are now forced into institutions that are less than ideal, many times shut away from the rest of society to await their end. I hear in Abram, the frustration of seniors who struggle to find purpose in their lives, convinced of their uselessness, watching as one by one their contemporaries die and leave them to grieve another loss. I love the pages given to describing the loves and dreams and trials of these dear elderly folks.
    I also love the description of John’s peace when captured and it’s source, Jesus.

    Looking forward to reading more from you in the future!